What does a Tax Advisor do?

Cassie L. Damewood

A tax advisor provides guidance and direction to clients regarding local and regional tax obligations, guidelines and payment options. She is often hired by a taxpayer to calculate their financial obligations and file the required documents, but may also be employed solely in an advisory capacity. A person in this position may be a paid staff member at an accounting or tax preparation firm or work as an independent, self-employed contractor.

A tax advisor might be called upon to do general bookkeeping.
A tax advisor might be called upon to do general bookkeeping.

People who use tax advisors include a wide range of consumers. Since tax advisors generally have knowledge of both personal and business tax laws, they are typically qualified to dispense information to individuals, families and partnerships. Small companies, corporations and family trusts may also seek the counsel of a tax advisor.

Tax advisors are generally knowledgeable in both personal and business tax laws.
Tax advisors are generally knowledgeable in both personal and business tax laws.

In addition to advising on current tax responsibilities, a tax advisor often provides ongoing counseling to clients to keep them advised of changes in rules and regulations that may affect their tax duties. She may suggest restructuring businesses, investments or exemption claims to positively affect future tax debts. If a consumer is required to communicate with tax imposing organizations, a tax advisor may often do so on behalf of her customer.

A tax advisor often provides ongoing counseling to clients.
A tax advisor often provides ongoing counseling to clients.

Besides working in an advisory capacity, a person in this position typically educates herself on tax law analysis to be able to be of service to a broader client base. The more she knows about relevant legislation and revenue stipulations, the greater asset she is to her company and customers. Developing a rapport with people within the taxing authority is commonly considered an advantage when negotiating on her clients’ behalves.

Other services ordinarily offered by a tax advisor include payroll preparation, general bookkeeping and investment planning. Structuring and managing family trusts and estate planning are other commonly offered specialties. The range of services normally offered depends on the size of the firm and the tax advisor’s areas of specialization.

Achieving success as a tax advisor normally requires exemplary research and communication skills. Understanding her clients’ diverse needs is necessary for her to provide them with the best advice and service. She should also have a great business sense and expertise in the latest accounting and tax preparation software programs.

This position normally requires a bachelor’s degree in accounting, auditing or business. Some companies may demand a master’s degree in business administration or accounting. Due to the constantly changing regulations in the field of tax reporting and exemptions, ongoing education is a regular part of a successful career in tax advising. Experience in accounting or tax preparation may be an advantage to aspiring candidates.

Tax advisors provide assistance to filers of personal and business tax returns.
Tax advisors provide assistance to filers of personal and business tax returns.

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Discussion Comments


When we were doing our estate planning, we used a tax advisor to help guide us through the process. We also had to use an attorney, but I felt like it was well worth paying for these professional services.

The peace of mind and lack of frustration and stress was well worth it for us. I think in the long run you will always save more money than you would spend when you hire a tax advisor.

They spend a lot of time making sure they are current on all the tax changes. I can educate myself about a lot of things, but taxes is one thing I like to leave to a professional.


Has anyone ever used an online tax advisor to help them with their tax questions? I see a lot of these advertisements around tax time. It sounds like they might be cheaper than using a tax attorney, but I also wonder if it would be a trustworthy route to go.

I know there is a lot of good information on the IRS website, but that can also be overwhelming and intimidating at the same time. Sometimes I have a tax question about one particular thing and really don't want to pay someone to do all of my taxes.

I think you should be able to get the answer to your question without revealing very much about your personal situation or finances.

In complicated situations I understand why it would be helpful to hire a tax advisor. If I just want one question answered, going with an online service might be a good route to go.


My income tax advisor is my son who has his CPA. It is nice to have someone I can trust to help me figure all of this out. I have always found taxes overwhelming and never understood them.

If I didn't have my son to give me advice about my taxes, I would have to find another tax advisor who I trusted. For many people I think that is one thing that holds them back from hiring a tax advisor.

In order for them to give you the best recommendations, they have to know a lot about your personal finances. Some people aren't willing to do that and would rather find the answers themselves.

I just know for me, I would rather use a professional tax advisor who really knows what they are doing. If I relied on my own expertise, I wouldn't feel very confident about what I was doing.


My husband is employed at an accounting firm and he is a personal tax advisor. He has always enjoyed working with numbers and with people, so this is a good fit for him.

Most of his clients really rely on him for their tax advice and he takes his job very seriously. The tax rules are constantly changing so it is his responsibility to know the current tax code.

He feels like he is doing a good job when he can save his clients a lot of money when they file their taxes. Sometimes he has been able to advise them about certain situations and save them thousands of dollars.

Most of his clients have been with him for many years and rely on him to give them the best tax advice for their situation.

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